‘Increasingly Facebook is saying that you should assume a day will come when the organic reach [of your content] is zero.’ (Source: AdAge)
Are you surprised, in disbelief or even shocked?
I was when I first read this.
But upon further reflection, it really isn’t all that surprising. I’ve pointed this out before, and despite it being obvious, I’ll do it again; Facebook is a publicly traded company and they have an obligation to increase profits. In order to do this, they need to sell ad products.
However, this need must be balanced with the core value proposition they offer users. After all, without users, they won’t be able to sell ads.
This is a delicate balancing act that likely requires Facebook to put a limitation on the volume of business-related content they serve in users’ News Feeds. And because of this limitation, it’s not inconceivable that one day the entire allowance of Page-published News Feed content could be accounted for by businesses paying for Facebook’s advertising products.
Ultimately, this would create conditions where business Pages would have zero organic reach.
And I probably ‘like’ more businesses than the average person, but based on the domination of Page-published content in my News Feed, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to think this day could come sooner than later.
The impending organic reach apocalypse might seem like doom and gloom, but there are some things you can do to prepare your business for this seemingly inevitable event:
DIVERSIFY YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE
Many businesses and marketers have been putting all of their social media eggs in Facebook’s giant basket. While the platform has historically served well as a hub for social media activity, there are a number of other popular social media platforms that are deserving of your attention and effort. If the day comes when you can’t organically connect with your audience on Facebook, you may be happy that you invested in building communities elsewhere.
AMP UP YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA VALUE PROPOSITION
If your content won’t organically be served in your audiences’ News Feeds, take strides to create such tremendous value for your audience on your business’ Facebook Page that they’ll come to you. I know, easier said than done, but this is something you should be working toward regardless of declining organic reach, so consider this impending reality a motivator to amp up those efforts even further.
STRENGTHEN YOUR OWN DISTRIBUTION NETWORK
Overcome the potential of zero organic reach on Facebook by employing tactics that are more traditionally applied to driving targeted traffic to websites, blogs and other digital properties. Think about how you can use email lists, cross-promotion and outreach programs to spread your content.
Consider developing internal practices to tap your employees’ or coworkers’ social graphs for content promotion. It might not be sexy, but this can be an effective method to get your content in front of a broader audience.
PLAN TO PAY
I recognize this might come across as ceding defeat, but it may be a good idea to plan on allocating a portion of your advertising budget to paying for content distribution. If your business’ focus is on creating high-quality content, paid promotion of your posts can be effective without breaking the bank. Further to Facebook, we’re likely to see this become a requirement on other large social networks in the future as they continue to mature.
The prospect of receiving zero organic reach with Facebook content can seem pretty dismal. Years of personal and professional experience on the platform have taught us all to expect at least some level of ‘free’ content distribution. And for many, this was likely the impetus for embracing social media in its early days as a marketing platform.
But times have changed, and so must we.
So long as there continues to be value for marketers to engage an audience on Facebook – which I imagine will be for some time – we’re going to need to find ways to adapt our practices to grow with the platform, even if there are some growing pains along the way.
What are your thoughts on declining organic reach on Facebook?
Would you continue to use Facebook if organic reach was zero?
As a user, do you find business content to hurt or enhance your overall experience on the platform?
Creating meaningful social media content on an ongoing basis is a common challenge for SMBs, large corporations and agencies alike.
Barriers to creating great content that I’ve experienced, and that I’m sure many of you have as well, include:
Budgets for content production being miniscule or nonexistent.
Hierarchy diluting ideas and slowing the creation process.
Fear of underperformance or failure hindering creativity and experimentation.
Input from too many stakeholders muddying process, and dulling sharp thoughts.
And limited time… time always seems to be too short, doesn’t it?
The good thing about identifying barriers is that they’re – well – identified. And then you can determine how to address them head-on. So, let’s do just that.
Following are a few suggestions for how you can address these barriers, and heighten your opportunity for creating great social media content:
BARRIER 1: “We’ve got no budget to do anything really fantastic”
If budgets are a barrier to you creating great social media content, it may be an indication that your idea isn’t strong enough. There are an almost infinite number of ways to create compelling content without breaking the bank, so if budgets are a challenge to you, it may be time to invest a little more time in conceiving content ideas.
Real value can be created in numerous ways, so if you’re hanging your hat on high production value for every piece of content, it’s time to get creative.
BARRIER 2: “By the time our ideas are approved, they’re barely recognizable”
If you’re like me, you’ve seen many amazing content ideas die a slow painful death as they move through organizational hierarchy. Someone doesn’t like this. Another person things something should be added, and another thinks something should be removed. Someone else is worried about this scenario or that. Before you know it, you’re publishing .jpgs of your company’s latest print ads on Pinterest.
As well as you know your social media audience, you also need to know your organizational audience. If you have a deep understanding of the things that make the powers that be in your organization nervous, you’ll be better equipped to preempt their input, required revisions, concerns, additions, deletions, or any other curveball they throw at you. In short, if you understand the sandbox you’re playing in, you’ll be able to produce better content as a result.
BARRIER 3: “We’re not certain that this is going to work”
Feeling a little uncomfortable about the content you’re creating is probably a good sign that you’re onto something. If you’re continually producing content that’s tried and true, it’s not likely to be dramatically distinct from the content your competitors are creating.
Sure, sometimes taking a calculated risk doesn’t pay off. But so long as you use your head, the worst-case scenario will probably be that you’ll learn a great deal from your failure that can be applied to making better content in the future. In the long-run, this isn’t so bad.
BARRIER 4: “Everyone has interesting ideas, but we really need to focus”
Having a number of people pitching in with content ideas can be great for obvious reasons, but sometimes the volume of ideas can be overwhelming and indecision can bog you down.
Keeping your content creation team small and nimble can help you to avoid this, but what is most important is having clearly defined roles for each member of the team, including someone that is appointed head decision-maker. This person should be able to keep the team on track, make tough calls, and be responsible for keeping your content creation machine moving forward.
BARRIER 5: “We don’t have enough time to be creating awesome content”
Particularly as it pertains to SMBs that don’t have the luxury of having a dedicated team of content creators, limited time can be a major barrier to content creation.
While I don’t have a solution to magically make more time (I’d be pretty rich if I did), I do have a few suggestions for how you can integrate content creation into your workflow so that it becomes part of your daily routine. Dedicate yourself to scheduling increments of time in your calendar to work on content and commit yourself to not moving that time. Keep an ongoing record of content ideas so that no mater when ideas strike, you’ve got them captured and you’re ready to craft those thoughts at a later time. And finally, find inspiration for content ideas from the individuals and departments that surround you. Keep your ear to the ground and identify where the interesting things are happening within your organization and convert those things into compelling content.
What barriers do you have to creating compelling social media content?
If you don’t have any of these roadblocks to creating great content, what’s your secret?
It would be great to chat with you more about this in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
As they frequently do, Facebook has relatively recently made some changes to their platform that have changed how you go about activating targeting options for Timeline posts.
Roughly one year ago, I had written a post to provide step-by-step instructions on how to adjust your Facebook Page privacy settings to give you access to this powerful feature set, but the instructions have since been rendered obsolete.
If you’d like an explanation as to why you might want to target your Facebook Timeline content, I recommend reading my previous post, and for now, I’ll just cut to the chase on how to gain access to these options.
STEP 1: In the Admin Panel, click on the ‘Edit Page’ drop-down menu
STEP 2: Click ‘Edit Settings’
STEP 3: Ensure you’re on the ‘Settings’ tab
STEP 4: Look for ‘Post Targeting and Privacy’ and click ‘Edit’
STEP 5: Click the ‘Turn on privacy and News Feed targeting so I can control the privacy of new Page posts’ check box
STEP 6: Click ‘Save Changes’
That’s all there is to it. Follow these few steps and you’ll be given Facebook’s targeting options for all of your future Timeline posts.
How do you use Facebook’s targeting options for your business’ Timeline content?
If you have any questions to do with social media or content marketing, how to use Facebook and/or other social media platforms, or anything related, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment, or contact me directly.
Facebook recently made an interesting change to the Page content they are going to show in users’ News Feeds.
Straight from Facebook,
“Now, When a Page tags another Page, we may show the post to some of the people who like or follow the tagged Page”.
While this seems like it’s ripe for abuse, Facebook is going to be taking several factors into account to avoid spamming users’ News Feeds with irrelevant content, just because a Page has tagged every other Page under the sun.
Facebook is going to be considering the commonality of interest between Pages, as well as engagement with individual pieces of content to determine if it may be of interest to those who have not ‘liked’ the Page the content is coming from.
For instance, if a significant number of people that ‘like’ your Page also ‘like’ my Page, Facebook is reading this as indication that our Pages are connected in a sense. So, if you produce a great piece of content that is being engaged with by people that ‘like’ both of our Pages, Facebook may serve your content in the News Feed of people that ‘like’ my Page, in addition to those that ‘like’ yours.
What isn’t clear is exactly how far reaching this will be, though I would imagine it will be tweaked and changed over time.
The one thing we do know for sure is that Facebook certainly won’t allow for our content to be so far reaching that it mitigates the value offered by their advertising products, so this shouldn’t be viewed as some impression- or fan acquisition-boosting loophole.
So, how should you act on this? Here are a few considerations:
Test @Tagging Related Pages
There’s no point in tagging every Page you can think of in hopes of broadening the reach of your Facebook content. But, go ahead and test this new update out by tagging Pages that are, or that you hypothesize to be, relevant to your business’ Page. The only way to know how tagging Pages will affect the reach of your content is to try it out, so go for it.
Monitor and Measure Results
Keep an eye on how the content performs that you’ve tagged to determine if this is something that is going to make a positive impact on the results of your social media marketing efforts. If you see upticks in impressions, engagement, fan acquisition, or other related metrics, then keep tagging away (smartly, of course)
Tag Pages Because it Makes Sense, Not for the Sake of Tagging
Don’t think that you should be tagging a Page in every post just because Facebook may serve your content to a new audience. Only tag other Pages when it makes sense in the context of the content you are publishing. If you’re tagging willy-nilly, not only is it unlikely that Facebook will serve your content to a new audience, but your existing audience will see through your thinly veiled marketing efforts and will potentially be turned off by the irrelevance of your poorly chosen tags.
Be Prepared for this Update to be Updated
Be ready for this feature to change. My spidey sense is telling me that this is going to be updated, adjusted, pulled, reintroduced, and run through the spin cycle a few times before we really get a handle on what this will mean for our day-to-day Page management and Facebook content creation. Keep an ear to the ground for any changes and how it may affect how you’re testing this, whether you should put a halt to tagging all-together, or whether you should ramp up your efforts.
How do you plan to take advantage of Facebook’s new content distribution feature?
Are you going to begin creating content specifically to be tagged?
How significantly, or insignificantly, do you think this is going to affect the reach of your content?
It’d be great to chat with you about this and hear your thoughts in the comments, or on Facebook at facebook.com/RGBSocial
We all know that mobile social is kind of a big deal.
On average, consumers are spending 37 minutes daily on social media, which is a greater amount of time spent doing any other activity on the Internet – email and porn included.
Of those 37 minutes, 60 percent of that time – or 22.2 minutes – is spent on mobile social media.
There, probably enough said.
It’s clear that engaging your business’ audience on mobile social media is becoming increasingly critical.
The trouble I find many businesses have isn’t about realizing that mobile is an important platform on which to have a solid presence, however, it’s how to establish that presence, and where.
Facebook is a mobile juggernaut
On desktop computers, determining where to socially engage an audience is pretty clear for most businesses. With over 1.2 billion active users, and significantly more time spent per user on the site than any other social media network, Facebook is an obvious social media starting point, and for many businesses, serves as a hub of social activity.
On mobile, as it pertains to users and usage, Facebook is actually a great place to be as well.
In fact, it was revealed in Facebook’s Q4 2013 Earnings Report that the platform had 874 million mobile monthly active users. What that means is that of Facebook’s 1.2 billion active users, 72 percent of them were also active on mobile, or were mobile-exclusive users. Which is huge.
But there are other players you need to pay attention to on mobile
Unlike on desktop computers, where Facebook is the far and away the attention and time consuming champion, the mobile social media landscape is much more fragmented and competitive.
While Facebook on mobile is still commands the most of time spent on site per user out of all mobile social networks, there are a few key players that demand significant attention as well.
When you combine monthly time spent on Instagram (3 minutes, 40 seconds), Twitter (3 minutes, 7 seconds) and Pinterest (1 minute, 39 seconds) – all heavy hitters in the mobile social arena – it actually amounts to more time than is spent on Facebook (7 minutes, 43 seconds) (source: Nielsen Digital Consumer Report)
And all of this makes sense. Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest offer streamlined and focused experiences that are well suited to mobile engagement and are aligned with mobile user expectations, whereas Facebook has shoehorned its platform into a messy and notoriously sluggish mobile experience.
This isn’t to say that all of these platforms might be right for your business and target audience, but it clearly demonstrates that there are networks worth paying attention to beyond just Facebook, despite their efforts to provide stronger mobile experiences with the introduction of standalone apps such as Paper.
So, what should you do with this information?
For starters, I recommend thinking more openly about which social media platforms you choose to engage your targeted audience on. Mobile social’s fragmentation means there is no obvious choice of social network to serve as the hub of your mobile social activity.
Figure out which platforms your audience using and for what purpose, determine the value that you can provide through engaging them on those platforms, and what benefit that will yield for your business. If you fail to do this – simply put – you’re missing a tremendous opportunity.
Also, on Facebook, it’s increasingly important to consider mobile when developing your social media and content strategies. Determine which types of content resonate most strongly with your audience on Facebook’s mobile apps, and think about mobile technological limitations and opportunities when prompting them for interaction.
Taking a photo and sharing on mobile is a relatively simple ask because mobile devices have the tech built-in to easily facilitate that interaction.
Asking for essay-length comments or responses to your content, however, is a terrible idea because typing anything of any length on a virtual keyboard is a sub-par experience.
How have you adapted your social media and/or content strategies for mobile?
Are there any social media platforms that you use to engage a mobile-specific audience?
It would be great to chat with you about this more in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial